Art Adventures! @ Open House Waterloo

Hi hi, we went for a class trip and it was great!

This was an art exhibition project put up by Noise Singapore is youth art platform. For this exhibition, they got local artists to explore everyday unused places of Singapore and creating installation works in the spaces that they found in the choice of venue. For this open house, it was located at the Waterloo Centre, a tall HDB flat-looking building with several open rooftop spaces. There were a total of 12 artists work in various sites of the building.

I was really excited for this trip as it is my first time going to an open gallery, and even more so, viewing local artists work! I thought that my experience spent at the open house was really cool and I got a chance to catch a glimpse of the local art scene efforts and appreciate Singaporeans’ art works.

When we first arrived, we took a lift to the top floor and slowly made our way down. Most artists’ exhibitions were located the empty spaces beside the staircase (imagine the spacious area beside the life in old estates, that people use to park their bicycles). While exploring the area, we were also tasked to critiqued some of the artists works! We were supposed to look at the artist’s work first and interpret the installation’s meaning without looking at the artist description first (preliminary reads). We could then later on read the description after our initial analysis, and compare if our understanding matches that of the work description (secondary reads).

Here are my findings!

1) Love Shrine

Name of Artist: Winnie Yap

Title of artwork: Love Shrine, 2017

Materials used: tulle, thread, human hair

Description: The entire space focuses on this huge pink sculpture made of tulle, being suspended in the air. It had a boxy shape with frills decorating the bottom. Because of the tulle material, it was slightly translucent, therefore the feeling of spaciousness was not compromised and it also created a pink filter around the space.

Preliminary reads: When I first saw it, I felt like it was a statement art piece because the whole sculpture was so big in scale and visually attractive with its bright pink colour. The fact that it was also suspended made it gather more attention. Because of this, the work gives off a frivolous feeling and made me feel intrigued from how mysterious and intense the piece was. With the use of pink tulle, it made me think about topics regarding feminity. Its strong image could be possibly about female empowerment or the freedom to dress whatever females like due to the transparency of the material. I felt that her usage of material was creative and really helps to attract attention to her piece. I also noticed her effort to cover the lights with red paper, possibly to keep the pink/red filter effect consistent even at night.

Secondary reads: I was quite surprised that I was so far off from the artist’s description haha. Her piece was meant to focus on the relationship between the traditional and the contemporary aspects of life. I do like how she use a bed to translate the changes in the movement, but I’m not sure if the topic of presenting the old and new is entirely clear. The idea of using tulle (instead of bedsheets) to capture the freeze-frame moment also did not feel very justified.

Maybe she have shaped the sculpture to look more like an actual bed, with blankets and pillows. She also could explore other stiff materials to re-create the same texture, as the association with tulle (in my opinion) is usually linked to something more along the lines of  fashion or feminity. The translucency of the tulle may also distract the interpretation.


2) The Screen to the Outside

Name of Artist: Lee Chuan

Title of Artwork: The Screen to the Outside, 2017

Materials used: projector, web application, projection film, optical lenses

Description: The whole space was completely covered in black cloth other than a small opening to the ‘outside world’ when you explore inside. The technical set up was really cool, where the projection on the wall shows an upside down image of the view you see through the small hole. There was a phone connected to a tv that was placed on the floor, showing a static image.

Preliminary reads: Looking from the outside where there was only a black cloth covering the entrance, it was quite eerie and dangerous looking. The feeling got ‘worse’ when I entered into the art space. The room was really dark and there was a tv with a fuzzy static image, reminding me of a horror movie scene…

The artist may be concerned with the social problem of using too much electronics. With the upside down projection and electronics – tv & phone, I felt that the artist was trying to convey how we spent too much time being secluded and absorbed in our phone and tv that our world had reduced to become skewed and narrow-minded. It reminded me of the ‘upside down’ world from ‘Stranger Things’. Meanwhile we neglect how bright and open the outside world is, being a light of ‘hope’ in that dark space.

The artist may thus be trying to encourage us to stop relying so much on technical gadgets and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the real world. The use of technology is creative and I think that it helped deliver effective communication between his concepts and the audience.

Secondary reads: It was pretty close to what the artist was trying to convey! The statement, “use of rectangular digital screens to mediate experience of both our immediate environment and the larger world” is pretty similar to my explanation of the context of how we kept using our phones vs appreciating the real world.

I think that he can probably provide a fixed spot on where to stand for best viewing. Phones and tv or tablets will then surround the spot to convey the message clearer that we can either choose to look at the digital products or the real world, this may help to better reflect the problem that the artist wants to bring up.

Overall, it was a good experience viewing our local artists works. I also tried out a new approach in appreciating art works. This shows how different people have different perceptions to subject matters. As artists, we should thus try to experiment with different presentation methods to best convey the meaning behind our works!

After the Waterloo Open House, we also visited the exhibitions near the esplanade area, and likewise, I felt very happy and proud of local talents and the effort to better integrate art scene in the every day life of Singaporeans. Can’t wait for future exhibitions as such!

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